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Bike shop burglar also suspected in fatal hit-and-run

Posted by on April 29th, 2019 at 2:58 pm

PPB officers wrangle Nolan Harris inside Metropolis Cycle Repair early Wednesday morning.
(Photo: Metropolis Cycle Repair)

The suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash that took the life of 85 year-old Ortrud Vatheuer on March 19th is now behind bars. But strangely, it wasn’t the hit-and-run that led police to him.

Last Wednesday, under the cover of darkness, 30-year-old Nolan Harris broke into Metropolis Cycle Repair on North Williams Avenue. When shop owner Brad Parker received an alert on his phone via his store’s security system, he immediately called police and they arrived within minutes. Harris was apprehended red-handed with a bike and other products (including the crowbar he used to break in).

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The Portland Police Bureau later identified Harris as the man they believe hit and killed Ortrud Vatheuer as she took part in her morning walk near her home in the Multnomah neighborhood of southwest Portland. The van police think Harris was driving in that collision was found on April 10th, 180 miles north of Portland in in Tukwila, Washington.

Police have booked Harris on charges of Burglary I, Possession of Burglary Tools, Escape II, Criminal Mischief II, and Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver (with Injury Resulting). The case has been forwarded to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.

Reached last week about the burglary, Parker said, “This guy is bad news, good to get him off the streets.”

Parker also said his investment in a new security system has paid off. Metropolis has been hit by thieves three times since 2013.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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11 Comments
  • Avatar
    John Lascurettes April 29, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Oh my gosh. Poor Metropolis Cycle Repair. It seems like they’re regularly targeted for break-ins and smash and grabs. I’m glad that at least this time it turned into something bigger.

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    bikeninja April 29, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    I hope the police can get this guy to give up his avenue for fencing these stolen bikes. There must be some way criminals are selling these stolen bikes that is more lucrative then chopping them up in a camp under hwy 205. As long as it is easy for thieves to flip bikes for easy money the epidemic of bike crime will continue.

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      JJ April 30, 2019 at 5:24 am

      Look no further than pawn shops North on the I5 corridor. Perhaps one of the reasons his van was found up there.

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        Alan 1.0 April 30, 2019 at 12:05 pm

        My guess is that stolen bikes are mostly fenced through online classifieds, followed by swap meets and garage sales. Pawn shops are regulated and require the seller to show ID. Maybe BikeIndex.org has some stats or insights?

        Great reporting by Brad Parker, and thanks PPD.

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    Doug Hecker April 29, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    He’ll be off of the streets for a few hours. ‍♂️

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      rick April 29, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      How ? His actions resulted in killing Ortrud on SW 45th Ave.

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    Ashish April 29, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    I hope the police can get this guy to give up his avenue for fencing these stolen bikes. There must be some way criminals are selling these stolen bikes that are more lucrative then chopping them up in a camp. As long as it is easy for thieves to flip bikes for easy money the epidemic of bike crime will continue.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

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    Roberta M Robles April 30, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Thank you PPB. These hardworking cops a round of applause. Yay! Chief Outlaw, doing alright now! #visionzero isn’t a tool for racial profiling it’s a tool of community justice.

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    was carless April 30, 2019 at 11:42 am

    To the bike shop owners – just FYI that you can install safety glass that is relatively break-in proof. While it might cost a bit more, if you are having to replace a broken storefront window it may be worth the extra cost. There are a number of different manufacturers and the glazing units could be a simple drop in place replacement in your current storefront system (depending on what kind of storefront you have for your business). You can go from a glazing unit that can withstand a sledgehammer, to full on bulletproof or bomb proof windows.

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      R April 30, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      Northwest Industries in Seattle makes laminated safety glass in Seattle and usually delivers to Portland twice a week.

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